[Air-l] Online interviewing

Annette Markham amarkham at uic.edu
Mon Jul 14 10:42:49 PDT 2003

Hi Lisa,

>Can anyone recommend any good books/journal articles/websites on doing
>qualitative interviews online, i.e. using one-to-one synchronous exchanges
>in some kind of chat environment (or whatever) for qualitative research? Has
>anyone on the list ever done this? Any thoughts anyone??

You might find some good advice from the following people, either in 
articles they've written, or by contacting them directly.

About interviewing generally:  I recommend reading J. Spradley's book 
called _The Ethnographic Interview_.  It was published in 1979 and has 
excellent interviewing strategies.  The best part of this book is the 
specific advice about how to ask questions.

About problems and special considerations of online interviewing:

Kate Eichhorn raises some key issues in her article: "Sites unseen: 
ethnographic research in a textual community" _International Journal of 
Qualitative Studies in Education_ 14, no. 4 (2001): 565-578.

In my own work, I discuss various issues and problems associated with 
synchronous and anonymous interviews online.  You could look at my book 
_Life Online_ (AltaMira) or a couple of recent articles that are forthcoming:
*Representation in Online Ethnography:  in Sarina Chen (et al) _Online 
Social Research:  Methods, Issues, and Ethics (Peter Lang, forthcoming)
draft here:  http://ascend.comm.uic.edu/~amarkham/writing/chen.htm
*Internet as Research Context:  in Clive Seale's book _Qualitative Research 
Practice_ (Sage, forthcoming).
draft here:  http://ascend.comm.uic.edu/~amarkham/writing/Seale.htm

Chris Mann and Fiona Stewart's book _Internet Communication and Qualitative 
Research_ is also useful in providing specific advice and strategies for 
online interviewing of various types.  Both authors have conducted 
different types of interviews using online media.

Anne Ryen conducted a long term interview study online. It was more based 
on email than synchronous chat, but she might have some more recent work to 
share with you.  (I heard her at a couple of conferences.  She also 
published results of her study in _Qualitative Inquiry_ with David 
Silverman in 2000).

Shani Orgad gave an interesting talk about interviewing online (addressing 
why she decided that she needed to interview offline as well as online) at 
the 2002 AOIR conference.

Hope this gives you something to work with,


Annette N. Markham, Ph. D.
University of Illinois at Chicago
Department of Communication
1007 W. Harrison St. m/c 132
Chicago, IL  60607-7137
amarkham at uic.edu
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